The surgiversary that I almost forgot

October 15 is has held some significance in my life for the past seven years. On this day in 2005, I underwent a triple coronary bypass open heart surgery. Three days earlier I had experienced a mild heart attack. The days after surgery were far from routine. Complications kept me in cardiac intensive care for ten days.

This surgery was a wakeup call. It was loud and clear that I had to change my life dramatically to be healthy and live a longer life. I setup a heart health scorecard that I revisit annually on this anniversary. It contained items that I knew I needed to improve on to minimize the reoccurrence of a heart attack: heart friendly diet, regular aerobic exercise, lower stress level, taking time for myself, and prevention of future attack.

Looking back through my blog posts on this date, I saw small progress in the early years but not enough to make a real difference in my health. After my second anniversary in 2007, I knew my increasing weight was one of the main factors in my poor health. I suffered from coronary heart disease, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type II diabetes. For each of these comorbidities, excess weight is one of the primary cause agents.

After seeing the positive results of weight loss surgery in my husband and others, I began to investigate bariatric surgical options for myself. In February 2008, I began my weight loss surgery journey with Lapband surgery in July 2008. My life dramatically changed at that point. Mt heart health scorecard began reflecting dramatic advances that I had hope to see as the result of this surgery.

What makes today a special anniversary that sets it apart from the last six anniversaries is that I no longer measure myself against the five items on the scorecard. Weight loss surgery was the change agent I need to get myself moving in the right direction. How I changed my attitude on living life made the scorecard obsolete.

Bariatric surgery dropped the pounds. After those pounds fell off, it became my responsibility to keep them off. The only way sustained weight loss could be a success is by me adopting a new healthy lifestyle and working hard to improve my health every day. My personal wellness vision focuses and guides me in my journey.

Critics of weight loss surgery often say that it is the easy way out, and everyone regains all their weight after a few years.  It is far from the easy way out. I work hard on monitoring my diet, health and exercise. I try to be a very active person. Four years out and I am very stable on my weight. I am much more knowledgeable about my weight, nutrition data and how to keep my body in good working order.

Today was the surgiversary that I almost forgot. That is more telling than anything about the progress I have made. Those original five scorecard goals are now deeply rooted in how I live my life. The scorecard required me to constantly look back and evaluate my progress based on my history. Today I only look forward and evaluate my progress on how well I meet the goals I set for myself.

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” — Anonymous

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